If you’ve already explored some of the most important ancient landmarks, seen the most famous artworks in the most important museums, tried nearly all kinds of cuisine by all different cultures, and travelled the world in all its corners, looking for your next trip may be a bit more difficult. If you’ve nearly seen all the important things that the world has to offer, you can get out of it—literally.

You just need at least 20 million dollars.

What is space tourism?

Space tourism is one of the most advanced means of travel that has been (and is being) invented. Also referred to as “personal spaceflight” (which sounds so much better, not to mention way cooler than “space travel”), this is a kind of tourism that lets people travel to the Earth’s orbit for business, leisure and recreational purposes.

So far, 7 people were able to fund their own trips to space. However, many start-up companies have been developing and trying out new ways for space travel tourism to be available for lesser amounts.

The lucky ones

Since 2001, this kind of travel has given a chance to fulfill people’s dreams of literally going out of this world.

Dennis Tito, an Italian-America multimillionaire and engineer, is a person that have all the bragging rights, for he is the very first space tourist or “independent researcher,” as he prefers to be called. Aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket, he spent eight days in orbit.

The second person to had enough funds to send himself to space is South African Mark Shuttleworth, who, like Tito, flew through US-based space tourism company Space Adventures and spent 11 days in space. Gregory Olsen, an American scientist and an entrepreneur, was the third person to personally fund a space trip in 2005.

Fourth is Iranian-American Anousheh Ansari, who is the first ever self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station. Fifth is Hungarian-American software executive Charles Simonyi, sixth is American-British video game developer Richard Garriott, and the most recent one is Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Cirque du Soleil CEO Guy Laliberté.

Yeah, it is truly unfair, especially for the ones who have spent years watching science fiction films and wishing that they could at least have the slightest similar adventure. But don’t fret, for different new technologies are being developed for a more affordable trip, and before you know it, you will find yourself saving your money for a space trip.

Suborbital flights, hotels

A space tourism industry is not impossible at this point, for a lot of different companies have started developing the most advanced technologies for space travel.  Some of the potential companies that aim for an affordable suborbital space tourism are Armadillo, Aerospace, Blur Origin, RocketShip Tours, Space Aventures, and Virgin Galactic.

Right now, these different companies are developing ways that would make space travel more accessible to the middle class, so it is highly possible that you will not need to pay $20 million in order to fulfill your space dreams.

Apart from tourism in space, rumor has it that the he first ever space hotel is also in the works, and it set to open as early as 2012. Surely this is another thing to look forward to—just imagine having space as your view!

The not-so-distant-future

However, like all new exciting technology, people who wish to do this kind of travel need to wait. Sure, some billionaires have already tried it, but it’s yet to be available as an affordable way to travel for the public.

Other plans that have been reported to be included in this whole idea are suborbital vehicles and orbital cities. Virgin Galactic, a potential company that offers sub-orbital spaceflights, has an initial seat price of $200,000. So far, more than 400 people have already signed up for this trip, which is hoped and expected to begin this year.

Imagine how awesome it is to make that phone to your friends when you’re finally able to book that trip to space. Surely “I’m going away for a while” will be one hell of an understatement, and showing them your gear will just be a tiny part of the whole adventure. If you’ve spent your teenage days watching Total Recall and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and prayed every night to the planets that someday you’ll get to travel to space as well, this may be one of the best news that will ever come your way. Space travel is looking more and more promising, and it’s possible that it will soon be taking off—literally!

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